From 70 to 80 percent of all ripe olives are grown in California's approximately 35,000 acres. In the 1700s, Franciscan monks brought olives to Mexico and then into California by way of the missions. The first cuttings were planted in 1769 at the San Diego Mission. Commercial cultivation of California olives began in the late 1800s. Today, anywhere from 80,000 to 160,000 tons of olives are produced in California each year.